Lisbon is undoubtedly one of Europe’s most charismatic and vibrant cities, with its rolling hills, the unmistakable pastel-coloured buildings in the old city, and the crash of the nearby coast giving the city an undeniable life of its own. It’s an indelible mix of rich, storied heritage and exciting modernity, and nowhere does this creative tension exist more than in the Chiado Palace.
Even on the relentlessly thriving street of Alecrim in Lisbon, the Chiado Palace is hard to miss. Its regal facade looms over the sloping street, but the finely carved, gold-trimmed windows and gas-lit lamps are but a prelude to what awaits inside.
As its name implies, the Palace was once an exquisite home to aristocrats, bohemians and bon vivants in the 1800s, hosting both sumptuous feasts and incredible works of art simultaneously. Vaulted ceilings, walls bearing complex mythological allegories and artwork to rival the Sistine Chapel – these lavish surroundings were par for the course; the Portuguese phrase “à grande e à francesa”- living large – probably found its origins within Chiado Palace’s gilded walls.
Today, the Palace has been restored into a classy concept restaurant, featuring seven well-known Portuguese restaurant outposts across its two marbled floors.
While Chiado Palace’s stately facade certainly stands stark on a 21st century street, it is kept in good company by its well-heeled neighbours. Art galleries of every disposition, historic bookstores with a wealth of undiscovered treasures, and other hip bars that are THE places to see and be seen in the city are but some of the shops that line the streets around Chiado Palace.
But really – there’s no place better to enjoy a drink (the Palace Chiado cocktail, a refreshing concoction of Martin Miller’s gin, red wine, pennyroyal and lime) than within the plush, intimate confines of a corner banquette, toasting beneath the Quintela regal coat of arms. ◼
© This article was first published online in Feb 2019 – World Travel Magazine.